Opinion: Female athletes should be allowed to practice in sports bras

Asking girls to ‘cover up’ creates a double-standard and makes students feel uncomfortable with their bodies


Mackenzie Sroka

The school does not have a written rule stating that students cannot practice in sports bras — in fact, some athletes do. Still, many believe that doing so is inappropriate, which is an unfair double-standard.

Mackenzie Sroka, Sports Editor

As the sun beats down, sweat drips down the players faces. The heat of the spring has reached nearly eighty-five degrees. Players need more water and wear less clothing to keep cool from the hot day. However, female players in the spring are sometimes held to a different standard in the heat because under their shirt is a sports bra. 

At MCHS, some coaches do not allow their players to only wear a sports bra during practices while others do. There is oftentimes a reason behind this, but it can appear inconsistent and unfair. There is no official rule or regulation from the IHSA or MCHS dress code that prevents players from wearing only sports bras during practice. 

During many spring sports, the summer heat approaches towards the end of the season. Players are often practicing in high temperatures, so they need to stay cool any way they can. Female athletes should be held to the same standard male athletes are held to during their seasons. If the male athletes can take off their shirt to stay cool, a female athlete should be able to wear only a sports bra during a practice. 

Within society there are people that view girls that wear sports bras as a distraction to others. This can often be portrayed as a double standard between males and females. This should not be present within MCHS, especially since there is no dress code for sports practices that entail not being able to practice in sports bras. Coaches should work to help female athletes feel comfortable with what they want to wear rather than unjustifiably saying no to their players. 

In certain sports it is not practical to only wear a sports bra; for example, girls sports that practice in a gym space could get injured without proper clothing to protect themselves. According to Hillary Angello, the girls volleyball head coach, “They can get burns in certain parts of their body and that is why we wear long sleeves. But when we have practiced outside during sand practices, they are all in sports bras.” Often times there is a reason like this behind the coaches not wanting their players to only wear sports bras, but in situations without reason it can appear unjustifiable.

By not allowing a female athlete to wear only a sports bra during practice without reason, it can be taken the wrong way as well. Female athletes should be given a reason to not practice in sports bras. If the coach fails to give a proper reason, many times it can be taken as sexualization of the girls. Proper communication is necessary between players and coaches, in order for female athletes to feel comfortable. 

Coaches and staff of MCHS need to be aware and make sure that their athletes are comfortable in practices. This can be in the means of physically and mentally. There is no document or statement that prevents players from practicing in just a sports bra, so coaches need to make sure they are justified in saying no. MCHS female athletes should be allowed to practice in sports bras if they want to.